President Klaus Iohannis and his wife Carmen met some 100 Romanians of America at the Romanian consulate in New York on Saturday, in an event attended by the foreign affairs minister Bogdan Aurescu, the new Romanian ambassador to the U.S. George Maior and Romania’s representative to the United Nations Ion Jinga.
“Our meeting today, just like the ones I had with the representatives of Romanian communities in Europe, shows to me once again that, irrespective of distances, being part of a nation is never lost. You in particular, the ones living here in the United States of America, are both far away and close by at the same time. Far away for reasons that are not under the control of any of you, close by through your attachment to Romania and through values,” the President told the Romanians in America.
“Given that the Strategic Partnership with the United States represents one of the fundamental coordinates of our foreign policy, the Romanian communities in the United States of America are a link between the two states. I appreciate the role you are playing in Romanian-American relations and I want us to find a way to strengthen it and expand it. This strategic partnership is not only political or military, it is also economic and cultural alike,” he added.
President Iohannis talked to the Romanians living in the United States about the top priority topics he has lately brought to public attention, topics that respond to general expectations, but also about the commitments he has constantly taken. Namely, the strengthening of the rule of law and the continuation of the anti-corruption fight, education as source of social development and the need for a stable, coherent and predictable legislation.
“I want Romania to become an example of democracy and proper functioning of public institutions, one you could be proud of. The more we strengthen democratic institutions and mechanisms the more Romania’s prestige in the world will rise. And you can be a significant part of this transformation,” President Iohannis emphasized.
Reminding his audience that with the start of the new school year he launched the challenge of a wide-ranging consultation on the topic of education in Romania, Klaus Iohannis pointed out that facilitating the process of recognizing diplomas obtained abroad should no longer be delayed. “In a society that appreciates and respects value and performance this is not allowed to be an impediment to the return of those that studied abroad,” he said.
Iohannis expressed before the Romanians in New York his preoccupation with the quality of laws in Romania and their effects.
“I know that one of the concerns of those that want to invest in Romania, whether we are talking about foreign investors or Romanians living abroad that want to develop businesses in the country, is the legislation’s lack of predictability, which creates mistrust and uncertainty. A competitive economy that is not under the pressure of corruption, nor under the pressure of repeated changes of the rules of the game, will become a more attractive and more open economy. I talked emphatically about these things in Parliament, and changing this situation is one of my long-term goals,” Klaus Iohannis stated.
He reaffirmed the Romanian state’s commitment to offer diplomatic support, assistance, quality consular services to Romanians living abroad.
“At the same time, it has the duty to ensure and protect their rights and freedoms, to be in their service, to support them in order for them to maintain their identity, traditions and culture, but also to see them as partners. As I emphasized on every occasion, all of these are, I believe, the condition and the expression of a strong Romania in Europe and in the world.”
In this context, Iohannis emphasized that postal voting is a project he cares about in particular, not based on political reasons but precisely as an example of a correct relation between the state and the citizen when it comes to guaranteeing a fundamental right, the right to vote. “Ensuring the legal framework and the conditions necessary for Romanians living abroad to be able to vote through postal voting in 2016, for the first time, will be proof of the Romanian political class’s coming of age.”
“Profound transformations in a society or in a system are not easy. Every time, the desire and need for change will have to run up against resistance, inertia, familiarity with the old practices, or skepticism. And just as often we will have to recall what is really important and what kind of future we want to have,” Iohannis pointed out.
“Wherever I met Romanians abroad I encouraged them to have solidarity and unity, because that makes them strong and respected. I present to you the same advice and I thank you for representing us here, in the United States, and for having Romania in your minds and souls,” the President told Romanians in New York.